Please Be Seated

January 18, 2012

This here, is a bench.

Not only a bench, but an ugly bench. We picked it up because we always need more seating and such and figured we’d do something with it eventually. Well, eventually finally came, after the inspiration of our new bed pillows. We picked up a new bench fabric at the same time and figured now was good. The bench was about $5, and the fabric I’d guess is around $10, and the trim another $5 maybe. Of course, Katie could say differently if she wanted.

Anyway, reupholstering is another thing that makes a piece of furniture look pretty snazzy and it can be simple to do. This bench required unscrewing 11 screws, removing staples, stapling new fabric, cutting said fabric, and hot glue. Not bad.

First, take your object and disassemble it. This was a pretty straightforward project, but if you are doing something a bit more complicated, be sure to track your parts and order so that you know how to get it back together at the end.

Once the top was off, we removed the staples holding the black fabric and the mustard fabrics on. The black fabric is basically to keep the raw edges from showing underneath. Remove your staples carefully if you want to preserve this piece of fabric. I find a flat-head screwdriver or needle-nose pliers are best for removing staples.

Once all the staples are pulled out, you should be able to lift the top fabric off.

Underneath, hopefully you find foam or padding that is in good shape. If your foam is in tough shape, you can get new padding, glue it down, and you’re good to go. Ours was in good shape so we just recovered over the existing padding. The white in the corner is some extra padding to help fill out the foam, which was missing a chunk in the corner. We also were left with the frame. I’d like to paint our frame at some point but we didn’t have a good color at the time.

Next, take your new fabric, lay it out right-side-down and place the bench top on it upside down. Staple one edge with a staple gun, starting at the corners and middle, and filling in the in-betweens.

Next, pull your fabric under so that it is tight. You want it to be tight so that you don’t get loose fabric on your cover. It may take a buddy to help keep it tight while you staple.

Now, there are a couple ways to go about the corners, which I think is the trickiest part. You can measure and cut your corners ahead of time, and sew them in to the right shape (Make a cut from the corner in, then fold together and sew), as was done on the old cover. You can ease the corner around like fondant and avoid a crease, or you can miter the corner by folding it. We chose to miter it.

Once stapled, you can clean up your fabric edges if you want, or place your backing (old or new) on the bottom and staple it. Then, reassemble!

Our final touch was to add a decorative trim around the bottom. In our “final pictures” it hadn’t been glued on yet, but I basically took a glue gun and glued it to the bottom of the top piece (not the frame!).


For most of us, our bedroom is the core of our personality as we express it through our houses or apartments. However, it’s also one of those spaces that isn’t really public once you’ve moved out of your college dorm room. What that means, at least for us, is that while we have individual things about our bedroom that are awesome, we also have areas that are pretty neglected and that we haven’t done much about. One of those areas was our bed. Upon leaving college we upgraded from a futon to a real mattress and box spring, but we’ve never had a head- or footboard, or any kind of matching bedroom set. So, one of the things we’ve been contemplating lately is doing something to make our bed look a little more grown-up and finished. We have plans for a headboard, but it’s been a trickier project than originally anticipated, so in the mean time, we went with decorative pillows.

We got 2 27″ square pillow forms to add some height and a generally finished look to the bed (Sora thinks she adds refinement as well). We then got some fabric. The fabric was a great find, it was on the bargin rack at Denver Fabric for $6.95 a yard, plus it’s intended to be curtain panels, so it was double wide. We got enough fabric for both pillows for about $6. The one downside is the fabric isn’t  as durable as you would usually use for something like a pillow. It’s definitely not a cuddle-up, fall asleep and drool kind of pillow.

To make the covers, I used the simplest pillow cover known to man-the flap pillow. I took a length of fabric long enough to cover the pillow, and folded it over hamburger-style, leaving 6-8″ overlap on one end. I then sewed up the sides to make a shape like an envelope.

From there, I just stuck the pillow form in, and folded the flap inside (think of a letter that you want to close and be able to open again later). Because these aren’t functional pillows I didn’t worry about making it fasten, however, if you wanted it to fasten, you could add buttons for a visible embellishment, or velcro on the inside for an invisible hold. The only other detail was to finish all of the raw edges. They’re mostly out of sight, so I just serged along all of my edges, but they could be zigzag stitched or folded over as well.